On April 7, 2017, USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) announced that it received enough H-1B petitions to reach both the regular and the Master’s cap for fiscal year (FY) 2018. The current annual cap for the H-1B category (meaning the number of cap-subject H-1B petitions that USCIS accepts each fiscal year) is set at 65,000 for the regular cap and at 20,000 for the Master’s cap.
With a later update, USCIS reported receipt of 199,000 H-1B petitions. However, USCIS did not provide a breakdown of how many of these petitions are for the Master’s cap and how many for the regular cap. Notably, FY 2018 number (199,000) appears significantly lower than last year’s (FY 2017) record-setting amount of 236,000 cap-subject petitions filed.
On April 17, 2017 USCIS also announced that, on April 11, 2017, it completed the “H-1B lottery,” the infamous computer-generated random selection process to select enough petitions to meet the 65,000 regular cap category and the 20,000 Master’s cap category. USCIS conducted the lottery selection for the Master’s category first. All unselected Master petitions then became part of the lottery process for the 65,000 regular cap. Finally, USCIS stated that all unselected petitions will be returned with their filing fees, unless the petition is found to be a duplicate filing.
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